Classifying soils: points of convergence in indigenous knowledge engagement with scientific epistemologies
Kolawole, Oluwatoyin Dare
Cooper, Garrick Wayne
PublisherTaylor & Francis Online; https://www.tandfonline.com/
MetadataShow full item record
While cultures are diverse in nature, there are many similarities between them. This is the case with African and Maōri cultures. Local people largely view their realities in a similar way. The question as to whether there are similarities in the indigenous epistemologies related to farming activities in different regions (such as West Africa, southern Africa, and Oceania) therefore arises. Given that no form of knowledge is mutually exclusive, we attempt to seek the points of convergence between local or indigenous knowledge and scientific modes of enquiry in relation to soil fertility management. In addition to secondary information, qualitative data were purposively obtained from key informants in selected farming communities in northwestern Botswana, the Canterbury province in New Zealand (Aotearoa), and southwestern Nigeria. We hypothesise that local farmers’ ways of knowing related to soil fertility and management have commonalities with mainstream science, particularly in terms of soil classification. Our findings show that both scientific and indigenous epistemologies as regards soil fertility are based on certain indicators, including soil morphology, the presence of fauna, plant growth, and so forth. While African farmers used the “principle of mental economy” to determine soil suitability, Māori farmers systematically group various soils, which is an indication of their sophisticated environmental knowledge.
- Research articles (ORI)